Introduction: The Enlightenment vs. The Great Awakening

“When God gets ready to shake America, He may not take the Ph.D. and the D.D. God may choose a country boy … God may choose the man that no one knows, a little nobody, to shake America for Jesus Christ in this day, and I pray that He would!”  (Billy Graham, 1949)

Billy Graham’s revival of Christianity swept America.

Likewise, the 1700s in America were primarily characterized by two contrasting movements.  A revival of men’s hearts and souls characterized the First Great Awakening.  In contrast, the Enlightenment philosophy which believed human power was superior to God’s power.

Both the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening contained theological and philosophical elements.  One brought man closer to God while the other pushed God away.

Throughout a series of blog posts I will be answering the following questions concerning these time periods:

  1. Why the 1st Great Awakening?
  2. Why the Enlightenment in America?
  3. How did thinkers in each movement view God?
  4. How did they view mankind?
  5. Who shaped the 1st Great Awakening?  
  6. Who shaped the American Enlightenment?  

At the conclusion of the series, I will quickly reiterate a few main issues and share why I believe this time period is significant in our nation.  Thank you and enjoy!



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